Much National Guard equipment left overseas

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Governor Bredesen says much of the equipment Tennessee National Guard units took to Iraq and Afghanistan is still there.

Bredesen says he's "very concerned" that the Guard might not have enough gear to mobilize during a state emergency. During an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press yesterday, Bredesen said trucks, humvees and bulldozers were left overseas for units replacing Tennessee companies.

More than two-thirds of Tennessee's National Guard members have been sent to the Persian Gulf region since the 9-11 terrorist attacks in the U-S. National Guard officials in Nashville say the state needs about 30 large trucks to move cargo, about 650 regular humvees and 200 more armored humvees.

Major General Gus Hargett, who commands the Guard, says when the 278th Regimental Combat Team returned from Iraq last fall, the equipment shortage was critical.

Hargett says if there'd been an earthquake in Memphis -- as he put it -- "we'd have had to hitchhike to get there."

The Army has started sending replacement equipment -- mostly trucks.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)